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CIVIL ELIGIBILITY ESTIMATOR - helps work out if you are likely to qualify financially for civil legal aid and how much, if anything, you may be asked to pay


At each step you MUST read the information in the 'i' info buttons.

Step 1

Do you automatically qualify financially?

You DO if you...

receive or you are included in your partner’s claim for any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

That means you will not have to pay a financial contribution towards your case if your application is successful. You DO NOT need to proceed to the Steps below.

You DON'T if you...

  • are in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance which is contribution based.

If you do not qualify automatically, you should complete the Steps below.

You can usually see the type of benefit you are receiving by checking your most recent benefit award letter. 

If you don’t have an up to date award letter or you are in any doubt about which benefit you receive you should contact your local benefits office.



Step 2

About your household situation

Tell us about your situation and any dependants living with you - this is a child or person(s) who has (have) no income of their own.

You should include your partner or spouse in these steps even if you don’t always live in the same household. For example your partner may work away or be in prison. 

You do not have to include your partner or spouse if the application is against them or you consider the relationship to be over.  
 

You should only declare children who are wholly dependant on you full time. 

We may consider making an allowance when we receive your application, for children in your care part of the time or adult children who have some income of their own but for this calculation you should not include them.


Step 3

Work out your household’s total disposable income

The “i” info box shows what income to include and how to calculate.

Work out what you expect your total income (after tax and national insurance deductions) to be in the next year - this is your net income. Then tell us your expenses.

If you are residing with a spouse/partner - insert joint income and expenditure.

Please enter 0 if you do not receive an income or have any expenses.

The amount in the "total disposable income" box will be calculated when you press the "calculate" button in Step 5 below.   

Enter amounts without comma separator eg.1000 NOT 1,000




We calculate your income on what you and your spouse or partner, if you have one, can expect to receive in the year from the date we receive your application.

You must include:

  • Earnings after Income tax and National insurance deductions
  • Drawings or profits from business
  • State benefits
  • Maintenance payments you receive from either an individual or through the Child Maintenance Service
  • Tax credits
  • Statutory sick pay or maternity pay
  • Pension payments
  • Student grants
  • Regular financial support from friends and family
  • Income from savings and investments
  • Dividends from shares
  • Income from any other source

Round up or down to the nearest pound.

If your income is paid weekly multiply the amounts by 52 to calculate the annual figure.

If your income is paid monthly multiply the amounts by 12 to calculate the annual figure.

If your income is paid 4 weekly multiply the amounts by 13 to calculate the annual figure.

We estimate  your outgoings based on what you and your spouse or partner, if you have one, are likely to pay in the year from the date we receive your application.

You should include the following:

  • Maintenance payments you make
  • Child care expenses  if you work
  • Travel costs to and from work
  • Housing costs – mortgage or rent (less any housing benefit), insurance policy payments linked to your home and council tax
  • Loan repayments
  • Credit/Store cards – only calculate based on the minimum amount you are liable to pay

Do not include what you pay for gas, electricity, phone bills, clothing and food for your household.  A standard allowance which is set by the government each year will be deducted when we complete the calculation at the end of this process. 

Round up or down to the nearest pound.

If your outgoings are paid weekly multiply the amounts by 52 to calculate the annual figure.

If your outgoings are paid monthly multiply the amounts by 12 to calculate the annual figure.

If your outgoings are paid 4 weekly multiply the amounts by 13 to calculate the annual figure.

 

This is automatically calculated from the information you gave us about your household at Step 2.


Step 4

Now tell us about your capital and that of your spouse or partner (if you have one)

We calculate your capital and that of your spouse or partner as at the date of your application.

We may take into consideration any capital  disposed of when you were likely to be aware of your involvement in litigation, if we don’t consider the reasons given justified. 

If you think this may be a situation that applies to you, you can contact our information line on 0845 122 8686 to check if you should include the capital in this calculation.

Enter amounts without comma separator eg.1000 NOT 1,000

By capital we mean money and anything else of value you and your spouse or partner (if you have one) own.

Examples of capital include:

  • The value of any interest in land and buildings owned after the deduction of any loans secured on them, including interests in timeshares. We do not include the home you live in.
  • Money in the bank, building society, Post Office, credit union, premium bonds etc.
  • Investments, stocks and shares
  • Cash-in values of any policies
  • Money owed to you or your spouse or partner
  • Money due from the will of someone who has died
  • Money due from a trust fund
  • Money available from your or your spouse’s or partner’s business or which could be borrowed against the business assets.
  • The value of any valuable possessions such as a boat, caravan, jewellery (but not wedding or engagement rings) or items bought for investment purposes

Capital not to be included:

  • The house which you live in
  • Tools and equipment you need for work
  • The value of any property or item you have an interest in which is being sought by the opponent in the action for which your civil application relates to will be disregarded for assessment purposes.  However, we will only disregard the amount/share they are putting at issue. For example if you own 50% of a house or some savings and the opponent is asking for it to be split 60/40 in their favour only 10% of your share would be disregarded for assessment purposes.



Step 5

Are you likely to qualify?

Press the 'ESTIMATE' button to see if you are likely to qualify for civil legal aid, and information on any contribution you may have to pay.



Some final points to be aware of:

Remember that this estimator is only a guide as to whether you are likely to be financially eligible for civil legal aid. You can also check your financial eligibility by calling our Financial Assessment Unit on 0845 123 2330 (open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm).

The amount you may have to pay may also depend on a number of factors:

  • such as the type of case you are applying for
  • the case's complexity
  • whether it is likely to be contested by your opponent

You can discuss these factors further with your solicitor.

You will also have to meet other tests relating to your case before you can be granted civil legal aid - these are explained in our leaflet Civil legal aid - information for applicants - see our leaflets for the public section. Contact a solicitor who can help you with your legal aid application using our Find a Solicitor page.

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